Harrows Darts.

Eric Bristow and dartitis
Hi,

Having grown up as a child in the 1980's (born in 78), I have always had a love of darts, my earliest memories of darts are from watching Jocky, Eric, Bobby George, John Lowe etc on terrestrial TV throughout the 80's. Nowadays I can spend hours, too many hours watching old videos on Youtube of these great characters of the game.

Recently I have been thinking about the decline of Eric Bristow's game and his dartitis. I've read his book and seen interviews from him describing dartitis and how it affected him in the mid 80's onwards. For someone who was supremely confident in his own ability to then suddenly start to doubt himself to the point he couldn't let the dart go was a staggering transformation. Re-watching videos from 86 onwards you can see his dart release slowing down and the hurt on his face when he missed targets that he would have been hitting without thinking the previous year.

The only thing that I can think of that changed during this period was that he changed darts and darts manufacturer in mid to late 85. He had used his Durro darts from at least 1977 up to 85 then switched to Harrows. Although the darts are similar, there are slight differences to the barrels and stems. Now I'm not saying this was the cause as he did win his last World championship in 86 with Harrows when his confidence was sky high but perhaps the change of darts was a contributing factor with his confidence which then lead to dartitis. 

We've seen other World Champions start to struggle when they have changed darts/manufacturers, Phil Taylor was at his peak using his Unicorn Phase 5's, then he struggled for a while when he moved to Target while using a very similar dart and had different generations made but never reaching the same success he had with his Unicorn darts. Then there is Barney, in 2006 he was at his peak using his Triple B's, getting the better of Phil Taylor that year before switching darts just before the 2007 final and while that final worked out for him, he didn't stick with those darts for long and was never really the same player again.

MVG is the latest example of a player at his peak and changing manufacturer. With last years move to Winmau he struggled with new variations on his old darts and also struggled with their almost exact replicas of old darts. He seemed to hit form again when he went back to his old darts.

Perhaps these tiny differences in equipment can make a huge difference to those players at the very top of the game and can affect them mentally to the point that they can't get back to their peak.
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I think that changing equipment can have a huge influence on a game or players mental game if anything. It applies to other sports as well. A small week is all it takes to change pace so imagine in darts the same.

This makes me wonder about the pros changing dart style every year. How do they handle that so well?

Far from me being consistent with any dart changing I do, but it usually takes me a couple weeks to feel comfortable with a new barrel. Guess that's why they are pros though and put in many more hours than I do.
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I would say that maybe by changing more often someone like Peter Wright will never worry about his old faithfuls wearing out.

Personally I just think it’s so hard to play at the kind of level Eric, Phil or MVG have for a really extended period of time.

it’s easy when you are hungry for it but as humans get comfortable they tend to lose some of their hunger.

Not sure the darts were to blame with Eric, but they may have been a part of his overall lack of confidence
Darts: 22g Darts Clearance 
Shafts: Archers Vice Grip Medium
Flights: RD Standard 

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I think of the hierarchy of darts being much like the hierarchy of the animal kingdom whereas there will always be a #1, alpha if you like, and the others following in rank looking to topple the leader of the pack. Sooner or later the leader stumbles for whatever reason and a new leader emerges.

It's hard to be the "Top Dog" forever. Eric, Phil and now MVG have had their time at the top of the heap and as they advanced the game of darts to higher and higher levels, the pack had to follow or get left far behind. Their success, in essence, created their downfall.

It is extremely hard to compete at that high level for long periods like rich345 said. That alone creates pressure to keep up the status quo and sooner or later things don't go as smoothly and the pressure mounts and that creates a domino effect of confidence erosion, pressing too hard to do well, changing things to maybe correct the issue, etc.

As for the dreaded "dartitis", I've had 2 bouts with it over the 30+ years I've been playing darts and for me it was a major erosion in confidence-----and I never came close to the level of play or the importance of matches like any of the above mentioned. I've seen pros who have had bouts with dartitis in their careers and it is painful to watch them throw, especially if the match is a tight one and the pressure is on. Mark Webster comes to mind when he'd start matches throwing smoothly at first and if ahead, he'd look fine, but if he got behind or was hard pressed by his opponent, his throw would get very mechanical and sometimes painful to watch.
gumbo2176
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The changing of Jocky's Bristow's darts was likely a symptom rather than a cause. There must have been a reason why he changed, perhaps a loss of confidence or some self doubt. If you're at your peak and everything is perfect, why change?
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(01-25-2021, 09:48 PM)Jefferz Wrote: The changing of Jocky's darts was likely a symptom rather than a cause. There must have been a reason why he changed, perhaps a loss of confidence or some self doubt. If you're at your peak and everything is perfect, why change?

I do get why some players change, if their form has dipped over time like Jocky's did then a change is worth the risk. It worked for Jocky when he switched from B&W to Datadart in 1988 with him winning the 89 World Championship.

What I don't get is why players at their peak like Bristow, Barney, Taylor and MVG change their darts. Is it really worth the risk for a big payday? 

I suppose in Taylor's case with him at the end of his career, a big payday sponsorship deal made more sense than Bristow, Barney and MVG.
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Taylor evolved his darts over a period of time.

I think Taylor is the only one who can show dart change evolution to. The positive (would love to see a title breakdonw by dart style) and really it only went awry whem he moved to Target.

By that point he was in his 50s, going through a divorce and lost a tonne of weight. It all Contributed to a loss of. Form at the start of his Target run

In the 4 'active' years with Target he still acheived:
2 x matchplay
1 x grandslam
1 x champions league
+ numerous non majors
2 x wc finals.

This with MVG at his pomp.

Considered a bad run compared to his previous success but would be the envy of every player not named MVG!

Outside of that every player I've seen whom have changed has not been the same:
Darts: 25g phase 1 Barney copy (Darts Clearance) 
Stems: DC short
Flights: std 75mc
Board: Winmau Blade 5. 

Best 100 at 20 score: 115 (17/10/18)
Current ave: 95


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(01-25-2021, 11:17 PM)Jockyoche78 Wrote: I do get why some players change, if their form has dipped over time like Jocky's did then a change is worth the risk. It worked for Jocky when he switched from B&W to Datadart in 1988 with him winning the 89 World Championship.

What I don't get is why players at their peak like Bristow, Barney, Taylor and MVG change their darts. Is it really worth the risk for a big payday? 

I suppose in Taylor's case with him at the end of his career, a big payday sponsorship deal made more sense than Bristow, Barney and MVG.
I was actually referring to Bristow, in line with your post, but I think I must have seen your username and put Jocky instead. I've amended my post.

I'm not sure it's about the money, but then I don't know what goes on behind the scenes. Sometimes using new darts is like buying a new car - fresh beginnings, new pastures, a fresh start, and..... lots of other positives. if you're going through a bad patch then new darts, they hope, may give them that extra boost.
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(01-26-2021, 12:34 AM)NiteEyez Wrote: Taylor evolved his darts over a period of time.

I think Taylor is the only one who can show dart change evolution to. The positive (would love to see a title breakdonw by dart style) and really it only went awry whem he moved to Target.

By that point he was in his 50s, going through a divorce and lost a tonne of weight. It all Contributed to a loss of. Form at the start of his Target run

In the 4 'active' years with Target he still acheived:
2 x matchplay
1 x grandslam
1 x champions league
+ numerous non majors
2 x wc finals.

This with MVG at his pomp.

Considered a bad run compared to his previous success but would be the envy of every player not named MVG!

Outside of that every player I've seen whom have changed  has not been the same:

I agree, most players outside Bristow, Taylor, MVG and possibly Barney would be more than happy with that record. There was a noticeable dip in Taylor's performance after he switched to Target but like you said there could have been other factors to that loss of form.


(01-26-2021, 01:02 AM)Jefferz Wrote:
(01-25-2021, 11:17 PM)Jockyoche78 Wrote: I do get why some players change, if their form has dipped over time like Jocky's did then a change is worth the risk. It worked for Jocky when he switched from B&W to Datadart in 1988 with him winning the 89 World Championship.

What I don't get is why players at their peak like Bristow, Barney, Taylor and MVG change their darts. Is it really worth the risk for a big payday? 

I suppose in Taylor's case with him at the end of his career, a big payday sponsorship deal made more sense than Bristow, Barney and MVG.
I was actually referring to Bristow, in line with your post, but I think I must have seen your username and put Jocky instead. I've amended my post.

I'm not sure it's about the money, but then I don't know what goes on behind the scenes. Sometimes using new darts is like buying a new car - fresh beginnings, new pastures, a fresh start, and..... lots of other positives. if you're going through a bad patch then new darts, they hope, may give them that extra boost.

Ah okay, I agree that if you are having a bad patch that a change of darts can potentially be a good thing. Like I said in my previous post, it worked for Jocky in the late 80's.

I just think that it's a huge risk for players who are at the top of their game and winning most tournaments they enter to change darts, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

That's why I wonder if Bristow changing his darts in the mid 80's was a contributing factor which lead to his dartitis? It does seem to coincide with his loss of form.
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There's an interview with Bristow and footage on YouTube with the BBC where they compare his throw then to 3 years ago.

I think the only time it went for a decent spell was that run in the WC in 97!

If you watch 'the showdown' versus Lowe you can see him noticeably starting to shorten his draw back.

He always closed his hand at the end of his drawback.

Watching from say 2004-2012 you can see his draw back get shorter and shorter until it evolves into that weird flick he ended up with.

Think it was the only way to enable him to release quickly, at a cost to his accuracy.
Darts: 25g phase 1 Barney copy (Darts Clearance) 
Stems: DC short
Flights: std 75mc
Board: Winmau Blade 5. 

Best 100 at 20 score: 115 (17/10/18)
Current ave: 95


Please follow my blog:

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(01-26-2021, 01:51 PM)NiteEyez Wrote: There's an interview with Bristow and footage on YouTube with the BBC where they compare his throw then to 3 years ago.

I think the only time it went for a decent spell was that run in the WC in 97!

If you watch 'the showdown' versus Lowe you can see him noticeably starting to shorten his draw back.

He always closed his hand at the end of his drawback.

Watching from say 2004-2012 you can see his draw back get shorter and shorter until it evolves into that weird flick he ended up with.

Think it was the only way to enable him to release quickly, at a cost to his accuracy.

Here is a great video of the comparison of his throw from 85 and 87. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-Ngsq2D6OM

Here is a video of his throw in the 85 World Championship final, much smoother.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSK6n7uqj0Q&t=2599s

His throw from 2004 onwards became very strange, I remember watching the League of Legends on Setanta Sports in 2008 and I couldn't believe how he flicked the darts. His 1997 spell was decent but I don't think it was anywhere near his pomp in the early 80's, in fact his game was never the same from 86 onwards.
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I can relate to such pains. The other night, I was back in league. The first game the team let me play, started out slow but scored well and they grouped fine. But later games, my dart release kept going too early, and made my darts fly too high or too low. I lost all confidence somehow even though I was trying not to think or stress out. I can only imagine what was in Eric's mind when he had his spells. For my spells of dartitis, I feel shivers down my arms when I'm playing league games. It's so weird, when I go to another board to throw, they go just fine. When I head back to my board for my turn in the match, I suddenly lost it. It's so strange.
Current Dart in Use: Quantum Darts Paradox 17.5gm
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(01-28-2021, 02:37 PM)LethalEagle Wrote: I can relate to such pains. The other night, I was back in league. The first game the team let me play, started out slow but scored well and they grouped fine. But later games, my dart release kept going too early, and made my darts fly too high or too low. I lost all confidence somehow even though I was trying not to think or stress out. I can only imagine what was in Eric's mind when he had his spells. For my spells of dartitis, I feel shivers down my arms when I'm playing league games. It's so weird, when I go to another board to throw, they go just fine. When I head back to my board for my turn in the match, I suddenly lost it. It's so strange.

That must be a nightmare for you, especially when you are playing league games.

For Eric it must have felt like the end of the world for him, it amazes me that he managed to get to 4 more world Championship finals with dartitis. Without it I'm certain he would have hit double figures for world championships wins.
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Its sliding doors stuff.

Bristow doesn't get it, there is no Taylor and he keeps improving and in theory he could be going untilthe mid 00s.

Probably could have got to 20 world championships as when it stated to hit he was creaming guys!
Darts: 25g phase 1 Barney copy (Darts Clearance) 
Stems: DC short
Flights: std 75mc
Board: Winmau Blade 5. 

Best 100 at 20 score: 115 (17/10/18)
Current ave: 95


Please follow my blog:

Blog: https://mydartinglife.blogspot.com

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